“Transparency” is a lovely term. We imagine discerning a friend’s true feelings or being able to pick out the mugger or rapist in the crowd by a look. If only that were so.

Where Does Transparency Stop?

Tune in to any news program these days and you’ll hear cries for “transparency.” People paid to argue on CNN or Fox talk about “dark money,” which sounds very bad. They suggest that mysterious millionaires or secret foreign interests are undermining our democratic republic with dark, hidden money. The answer, they say, is more transparency.

In transparency heaven, full disclosure exposes secret donors and unveils evil-doers manipulating public opinion with nasty falsehoods. It sounds so good. But there’s a downside to being so open. Don’t imagine that transparency will stop people out to harm you. Once loosed, the bureaucrats and do-gooders will quickly start snooping in your neighborhood.

Will transparent bank accounts come next? Should political parties know how much you save? Should your church donations, club memberships or video subscriptions be public knowledge? Does everyone need to know you support the Southern Poverty Law Center or the John Birch Society? What about your membership in the NRA or the USCCA? Does everyone have a right to know that you own firearms, that your children are home-schooled or that you’re a Methodist?

Our Right to Private Lives

What we actually see behind the smokescreen of “transparency” is a fantasy of Julian Assange, the Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks. Assange published classified U.S. information leaked to him by traitor Bradley Manning, clerk for a U.S. Army Intelligence group in Iraq. Assange wants a transparent world.

The role of our government is limited — in theory — and we should be shielded from the prying eye of bureaucrats and individuals with agendas.

We have a right to private lives. The government already knows how much you claim to give to your church or synagogue through income tax filing, as well as clubs you claim membership in through deductible giving. But enough is enough.

White Hernando County (Florida) Sheriff's Department patrol SUV parked at the end of a residential driveway where it is blocking in a dark sedan and a large pickup truck. An older white man with glasses and a bushy gray mustache faces the camera from the far side of the cruiser while a young white male with short red hair and a burgundy shirt stands nearby with his back to the camera.

Under the guise of “transparency,” people who want unlimited government may snoop into and ruin your personal life. Insist instead on your right to “privacy.” (Photo by Rick Sapp)

Will Our Guns Be Next in the Desire for Transparency?

Clubs and charities, for example, should not have to worry about funds drying up due to donor intimidation. I suspect the ultra-left wants to know who is funding its opposition — who supports military veterans and secure national borders … and which houses have guns.

Alabama, California, New York, Utah, South Carolina and other states now compel 501(c) charities to disclose donor information in the name of “transparency” and “good government.” Will the names of gun owners or concealed carry permit holders be next?

I believe that “transparency” is what we require of government. “Privacy” is a constitutional right afforded to us, the citizens.